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Shelter: World’s Tallest Slum

Photo by Saúl Briceño.

The unfinished tower soars above Caracas’s financial district. Below its half-glassed windows the city spreads, magnificent. This view was meant for wealthy bankers, in offices with glossy tables and heavy paperweights whirring with the activity of a booming economy, but has instead become the privilege of schoolteachers, taxi drivers, auto mechanics and even policemen who are carving out a life on their own terms in the vacuum of a collapsed economy and a government that fails to meet their needs. Continue Reading…

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Expats: Pobre Culis

Photo by Delznaga.

Cuba’s most famous cigar roller is nicknamed Chinita (little Chinese girl) despite her rather robust frame and Philippine roots. Tiger Balm is one of the most accredited cures for just about anything. And Chinese flora pervades the landscape. Continue Reading…

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Cast Iron Camping

Out under the night skies in Big Sur after a long day of hiking and setting up camp, you may get a hankering for something other than trail mix and granola bars. Two friends of Nowhere trekked to Kirk Creek campground overlooking the Pacific and made a campfire pizza using a pie iron. Pie irons, which look like a thick metal flyswatter, are made of two cast iron squares that hook together on a long metal handle for placing it deep into the campfire. Watch the video they made of their trip and tips for making your own pie iron campfire pizza. Continue Reading…

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Pack It: Dickies Workpants

Photo from Dickies UK.

I got my first pair of Dickies workpants 14 years ago at Bennett’s Military Surplus in Little Rock, Arkansas. The reason I remember this is because I haven’t had to bother with any other brand of pants since then, unless I’m swimming, jogging, or going to a wedding.

Dickies began in Bryan, Texas in 1919 as the U.S. Overall Company, with an emphasis on making tough, durable bib overalls for workers. In 1922, they became the Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Company and expanded their collection to workpants and workshirts. The company continued to grow, slowed only by the Great Depression, and during World War II they produced millions of uniforms for the nation’s armed forces. Since the war, they have grown to become the largest workwear manufacturer in the world. Continue Reading…

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Shelter: Cave Monks

Photo by Emily Strasser.

Built into a cave high above the Tserap River in the remote Himalayan valley of Lugnak, the ancient Phuktal Monastery is a hard day’s hike from the closest road. Just getting to the region, Zanksar, tucked on the western edge of the Tibetan Plateau between Kashmir and Ladakh in Northern India, takes twelves hours on murderous mountain roads from the closest city, or a ten-day trek through the mountains. Yet despite the difficulty, this place seems to have a way of being found. Continue Reading…

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The Expats: Neruda Abroad

Photo from Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional.

When poet Pablo Neruda fled his native Chile, over the Andes and into Argentina — “[a] trip I have taken through regions that are distant and antipodean,” he later reminisced — he had nearly died before he made it to the other side. He had been living underground for 14 months during President Videla’s crackdown on communism when, in 1948, a warrant was issued for his arrest. “There were no tracks and no paths, and I and my four companions pressed forward on our tortuous way, blindly seeking the quarter in which my own liberty lay.” Buried in his backpack was the manuscript for his epic poem, Canto General. Continue Reading…

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En Route: Moscow

 Photo by Erin O’Brien.

Twenty five years ago, Moscow hid behind a crumbling Iron curtain, famed, but elusive. The Soviet capital the world imagined, idealized even, but never thought they would see. Or at least not without thousands of dollars, several bribes, and layers upon layers of bureaucracy.

And then, 1989. Continue Reading…

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Somewhere in Cambodia

Time and Tide: a Social Documentary of Contemporary Cambodia is an ongoing documentary series begun in 2006 with Colleen Gutwein’s initial trip to Cambodia.  The work focuses on the rebuilding of the kingdom and everyday life of the Khmer people in a post Khmer Rouge era.

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Colleen Gutwein has worked as a photographer internationally since 2005 and has created a home base in Newark, NJ.  She is currently working on “The Newark Arts Photo Documentary Project”, funded partially by the Puffin Foundation, focused on documenting contemporary artists in Newark, NJ.

Her natural documentary photography style has led her to create bodies of work from all walks of life and locations in the world. These projects include searching for the edge of motion in the national parks of Colorado, and her long-term documentary project “Time and Tide” focusing on the rebuilding of Cambodia since its bloody civil war.

Colleen is also actively building the  “Modern Blueprint”, a collage series focused on cyanotypes.  Her hand-printed cyanotype images are physically deconstructed and reassembled into collaged reliefs. “Modern Blueprint” opens a new dialogue between obscure traditional photographic processes and a modern digital era.

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Outlaws: Hawala

Photo by Raffaele.

Romans didn’t believe in proxies, so there was hawala. The informal value transfer system became ubiquitous in South Asia because under Roman law, no one could conclude a binding contract on behalf of another. Instead, a convoluted set of contracts transferring rights and obligations had to be initiated for any exchange to take place. The Middle Ages came with the notion that the transfer of debt was permissible, largely a result of necessity. Long distance trade between Italian cities and the Muslim world at the time made commercial transactions much smoother, and European merchants could thank Islamic law’s facility with the idea of agency for that. Continue Reading…

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Carry-on: Luggage Labels

Photo by Holly Gramazio.

After I wiped the sleep out of my eyes and drool from my mouth, all of the plane’s passengers stood and unceremoniously – elbows akimbo – made our way into the aisle. Next came the race to see who could open the overheard compartment quickly enough, pull down luggage and then run-walk quickly as possible to the front of the plane in order to be the first to disembark. This rather annoying travel ritual was made fascinating to me as the man sitting beside me through duration of the 10-hour flight wordlessly retrieved my bag before his own, and his small, beaten-up, leather valise was covered in some of the most vibrant, gorgeous vintage luggage stickers I had ever seen. Continue Reading…

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